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Australian workplaces not so family friendly:

Mums believe asking for flexible hours and conditions will negatively impact their job & career prospects.
By Motherpedia
Date: November 17 2012
Editor Rating:

Australian mothers are of the view that asking employers for more flexible hours and working conditions will limit their career, according to our survey of nearly 1,000 mums.

Motherpedia's survey, conducted in partnership with CoreData, shows that two-thirds of mums believe asking their employer for more flexible working conditions will negatively impact their job and career prospects.

It also showed 21% of mothers believe female coworkers who are childless are three times less tolerant of childcare and parenting issues than a male coworker. This compares with 7% of mums who believe men are less tolerant and 41% who say that men and women are as intolerant as each other.

Worryingly for this day and age, our research shows an overwhelming number of Australian women still believe asking for more flexible working conditions and hours will have negative consequences.

This is despite working parents of pre-schoolers having the right to request flexibility under National Employment Standards that came into operation in 2010.

Our research clearly shows mothers feel a stigma still exists and there is a long way to go with improving tolerance in the workplace as well as building the confidence of working mothers.

The research findings come as the UK introduced new reforms that give all employees the right to ask for flexible hours.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said enabling relatives and friends of working parents to alter their working patterns will boost the economy. The British Government estimates that around a million women are effectively locked out of employment because of problems balancing work and childcare.

Under the UK changes, grandparents will also be able to apply so that they can look after their grandchildren and new mothers are able to share maternity leave with their partners.

Despite many governments putting in place major reforms to help mothers balance work and childcare, it is clear that it remains a source of friction for many employers and the colleagues of women who are also mothers.

Sally Russell, founder of community for UK mums Netmums, says culture is hard to change but the reforms introduced will start to make change more of possibility.

“The aim is to reduce friction as it becomes more common for men to also take time off.”

“Mums in the UK are pleased the government is driving forward change to allow greater take up if flexible working and of parental leave for those that want to use it.”

“To have more flexibility within the family has to be a good thing, as it helps people work out patterns of work that suit both parents and child. However, we individually need to stay vigilant and ensure that as mums we don't put ourselves under so much pressure we find it hard to cope.”

Of the survey respondents employed, 32% of respondents were working part-time, 27.5% were working full time and 5% were self employed.

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2 Total Comments
Jenny says: 2012 11 18

Government reforms seem pro family but they don’t and can’t take into account the impact these reforms may have on Small Businesses and the childless workers who will inevitably be expected to work the hours that mum’s cannot. Early starts and late finishes will become the norm for the childless. Men NEED to bare the brunt of some of the childcare to make working mums more reliable.We all need to stick together to solve these complex issues.

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